Thinking and Language

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1

Myers’
PSYCHOLOGY







(7th Ed)

Chapter 10

Thinking and Language


James A. McCubbin, PhD

Clemson University


Worth Publishers

2

Thinking


Cognition


mental activities associated w/ thinking,
knowing, remembering, & communicating


Affects …


how we learn (Ch 8)…


how we remember (Ch 9)…


how we plan…Nurture (Ch 3 & 4)…


how we dream (Ch 7)…


how we use and learn language (this Ch)….


It is affected by neuropsych activity (Ch 2)…


Cognition & cognitive processes will relate
to EVERY CHAPTER we do in this book!


Cognitive Psychologists:


The mental activities they research:



concept formation:


how we form ideas, schemas,


heuristics,etc.


problem solving: involves how we look at
info, analyze it, & come up w/ solutions


decision making


judgment formation


3

4


Concept
:
mental grouping of similar objects,
events, ideas, or people



EX’s: cats, dogs, chairs, horses, law
enforcement, etc.)….
schemas



Prototype:
Mental image or best EX: of a
category


matching new items to the prototype
provides a quick, easy way to include items
in a category


EX: Comparing
feathered creatures

to a
prototypical bird
, such as a robin


(which is MOST ppl’s prototype for “bird”
…not a penguin)

5


Algorithm


Step
-
by
-
step methodical, logical rule or
procedure that guarantees solving a
particular problem


-
efficient, but can be time
-
consuming


Heuristic:

(mental short
-
cuts)


simple thinking strategy that often allows
us to make judgments & solve problems
efficiently


usually speedier than
algorithms



more error
-
prone than
algorithms

EX: You lose your keys...Which of these do
you use to find them???

6

Thinking

Answer to “lost keys”:


First heuristics (EX’s: looking in the last place you
remember seeing them, the place you usually put
them, along the path you took to come home, etc.)


If these fail, you then fall back on algorithm & look
every single place they could possibly be.
(EX’s?)

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Unscramble

S P L O Y O C H Y G


Algorithm


all 907,208 possible combinations


Heuristic


throw out all YY combinations


other heuristics?

7


Insight


sudden & often
novel (?)
realization of the solution
to a problem
(“Ah
-
HA!!” “Hey, wait…What
about
THIS
?”)


contrasts with strategy
-
based solutions


Confirmation Bias
:
a
major obstacle to problem
solving


tendency to search for information that confirms
one’s preconceptions


Fixation
:
stuck in one way of seeing something


inability to see a problem from a new perspective


impediment to problem solving

8

The Matchstick
Problem


How would you
arrange six
matches to form
four equilateral
triangles?

9

The Three
-
Jugs
Problem



Using jugs A,
B, and C,
with the
capacities
shown, how
would you
measure out
the volumes
indicated?




10

The Candle
-
Mounting
Problem


Using these
materials, how
would you
mount the
candle on a
bulletin board?

11

5 ppl in a hospital: Each 1 has only 1 disease & each
has a different disease. Each 1 occupies a separate
room. Room #’s are 101
-
105

1.
Person w/ asthma in room 101

2.
Ms. Jones has heart disease

3.
Ms. Green is in Rm 105

4.
Ms. Smith has tuberculosis

5.
Woman w. mono is in Room 104

6.
Ms. Thomas is in Rm 101

7.
Ms. Smith is in 102

8.
1 of the patients, other than Ms. Anderson, has gall
bladder disease.

What disease does Ms. Anderson have & what
room is she in?

12


CREATIVITY & THOUGHT:


COMING UP W/ SOLUTIONS… (
Read only…)



Lipstick



A private school in Washington recently was faced with a
unique problem. A number of 12
-
year
-
old girls were beginning
to use lipstick & would put it on in the bathroom… but after
they put it on, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving
dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man
would remove them & the next day, the girls would put them
back.



Finally the principal decided that something had to be done.
She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there
with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip
prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had
to clean the mirrors every night.



To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the
mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how
much effort was required. He took out a long
-
handled
squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.
Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror. There
are teachers….and then there are educators...

13

Thinking


Mental Set


tendency to approach a problem in a
particular way…EX: a pencil? Matches?


especially a way that has been successful in
the past but may or may not be helpful in
solving a new problem


Functional Fixedness


tendency to think of things only in terms of
their usual functions


impediment to problem solving

Breaking set (or avoiding functional
fixedness)
: coming up w/ novel ways to use
items
…”McGyver effect



14

The Matchstick Problem


Solution to the
matchstick
problem
involves
thinking outside
the box…and
not

assuming
limits like 2
-
D
instead of 3
-
D


Consider new
ways…not fixed
ways

15

The Three
-
Jugs
Problem



Solution:




a) All seven problems
can be solved by the
equation shown in
(a): B
-

A
-

2C =
desired volume.


b) But simpler
solutions exist for
problems 6 and 7,
such as A
-

C for
problem 6.

16

The Candle
-
Mounting
Problem


Solving this
problem
requires
recognizing that
a box need not
always serve as
a container

17


Writing assignment
: Pp. 392
-
393:
Read “Risks

Do we fear the right
things?”


Summarize and explain the 4
influences on our intuitions about
risks…..Give examples of each.


18

Heuristics: Some possible Causes of
Faulty thinking!


Representativeness Heuristic


judging the likelihood of things in terms of how well
they seem to represent, or match, particular
prototypes


may lead us to ignore other relevant info


Availability Heuristic: 2 parts:


1) estimating the likelihood of events based on their
availability in memory…relate to “
recency effect



2) if instances come readily to mind (perhaps
because of their
vividness
…how it stands out), we
presume such events are common

EX:

airplane crash = phobia…but what about cars?


19

Thinking


Overconfidence


tendency to be
more confident than correct


tendency to overestimate the accuracy of one’s
beliefs & judgments

Planning fallacy
: when we are over
-
confident RE:
time it will take us to do something…


EX: Research paper? Studying?


Framing:

way an issue is posed; way it’s worded


how an issue is
framed

can significantly affect
decisions & judgments


EX: What’s best way to market ground beef
--
as 25%
fat or 75% lean?

20

Thinking


Belief Bias
:
tendency for our pre
-
existing beliefs
to distort logical reasoning


sometimes invalid conclusions seem valid…or
valid conclusions seem invalid


(relates to “
group
-
think
” also…Ch. 18)


Belief Perseverance


clinging to one’s initial conceptions after the
basis on which they were formed has been
discredited

21


Artificial Intelligence (AI)


designing & programming computer systems to…


…do intelligent things


…simulate human thought processes (parallel)


intuitive reasoning


learning


understanding language

(272 Baron’s
)


Computer Neural Networks


computer circuits that mimic brain’s
interconnected
neural cells & perform tasks much
like humans…


learning to recognize visual patterns


learning to recognize smells

22

Language


Language


our spoken, written, or gestured works & the way
we combine them to communicate meaning


Phoneme


1
st

bldg. block in a spoken language, the smallest
distinctive sound unit EX: bat =
b, a, t or


that = th, a, t photo = ph, o, t, o


Morpheme


2
nd

building block in a language, the smallest unit
that carries
meaning

EX’s:
I a bat or…


-
s

= cat cats
de
-

compose decompose


may be a word or a part of a word
(such as a prefix
or suffix)


Grammar:

rules in a language that enables us
to communicate w/ & understand others

23

Language


Semantics


the set of rules by which we derive meaning from
morphemes, words, & sentences in a given
language


also, the study of meaning


Includes
connotation
…if it has a positive or
negative feel…
determined

or
bull
-
headed ?


Syntax


the rules for combining words into grammatically
sensible sentences in a given language


apple red…or red apple?

24

Language


We are all born to recognize speech sounds
from all the world’s languages


About when do we “switch” to the “home
language”?

100

90

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

Percentage able

to discriminate

Hindi t’s

Hindi
-

speaking

adults

6
-
8

months

8
-
10

months

10
-
12

months

English
-

speaking

adults

Infants from English
-
speaking homes

25


Cooing: 1
st
…2
-
3 months
: “Oooooooo…”


Babbling Stage:
begins about 3
-

4 months


infant suddenly utters various sounds that are at 1
st

unrelated to the household language EX’s?


Beginning to recognize sounds


Sounds connected to own culture’s lang. by about 10
mos.


1
-
Word Stage:
(about age 1





child speaks mostly in single words EX:’s?


Inflection can = a sentence EX: “Doggy!”


2
-
Word Stg:
(about age 2)


speaks in mostly 2
-
word statements EX’s?


kid is “getting” syntax…word order:

EX:
Engl. = noun + adj.
But SP? FR?

26


Telegraphic Speech:
Early speech stage in which
the child speaks like a telegram
-

“go car”
--
using
mostly nouns & verbs & omitting “auxiliary” words


Remember
assimilation

&
accommodation
? (Ch. 4)

-------------------------

3 theories RE: way kids devel. Lang.:


Are based on the
Heredity vs. Environment

question:

1) Behaviorism/Skinner
(learn w/ rewards/punish.)

2) Genetics/Chomsky
(it is “hard
-
wired” in humans)

3) Cognitive/neuroscience
(connections, etc…it’s BOTH)


Lev Vygotsky:
Kids learn to use words & solve
problems by internalizing their culture’s lang., &
relying on inner speech

27

Language (t
-
406)

Summary of Language Development

Month

(approximate)

Stage

4

10

12

24

24+

Babbles many speech sounds

Babbling reveals households

language.

One
-
word stage.

Two
-
word, telegraphic speech.

Language develops rapidly into

complete sentences.

28

Lang. Development Theories:
Nature or nurture?


1)
Skinner:

It’s Behaviorism
! We
learn language

from
association, imitation
, & operant conditioning’s
reinforcement
…learn from our environ./experiences!


--
little response = slower development


2)
Noam Chomsky
:
It’s genetic!

linguist; says there is
some learning, but there is also
innate mechanism for
language (“hard
-
wiring”)


-
2 main ideas: wired for “universal grammar” & wired
for grammatical rules


--
kids create their own sentences too fast for it to be
just learning…and their own patterns…


EX:
Over
-
generalizing
: adding

ed

for past tense

29

Noam Chomsky’s “hard
-
wire”
language theories


Said g
enes

design the
mechanisms
for a language
(heredity
) , &
experience
(environment
)
activates
them as it
modifies the
brain



Are we “hard
-
wired” for
language? Is
it
i
nnate
?

30

3)
Cognitive neuroscientists: Statistical learning
:
It’s
BOTH!
Shoots down Chomsky’s
universal grammar
, but
supports tendency to follow & form grammatical rules:
See infant’s learning (406)


-
those w/o access to language don’t develop left
hemisphere can be limited

Whorf”s hypothesis
: Language determines the way we
think
…The interplay of thought & language



EX: Hopi have no past tenses…so thinking in the past is
limited


(p. 409)


Engl.
vs.
Japan.
? =
individualistic

vs.
collectivist

soc.?


Most now say language
shapes
or influences

how we
think…
not

determines…


Lev Vygotsky fits here!!
Kids learn to use words &
solve problems by internalizing their culture’s lang., &
relying on inner speech


31

Linguistic
Determinism

(409)



Whorf”s
hypothesis
:

Language
affects
thinking
which
affects lang.
which

affects….


32

Language


New

language
learning gets
harder w/
age


Teach kids
languages
early

for best
results



Best age for
2
nd

language:


3
-

7 yrs.

100

90

80

70

60

50

Native

3
-
7

8
-
10

11
-
15

17
-
39

Percentage

correct on

grammar

test

Age at school

33

Kids & language… How kids translate it into
what
they understand

(Read only)


A Sunday school teacher asked her class, "What was
Jesus' mother's name?“
Tammy

answered, "Mary."


The teacher then asked, "Who knows what Jesus'
father's name was. Anthony said, "Verge."


Confused, the teacher asked, "Where did you get
that?"


Anthony replied, "Well, you know, they are always
talking about Verge n‘ Mary.''


3
-
year
-
old Reese
: "Our Father, Who does art in
heaven, Harold is His name. Amen."


One particular four
-
year
-
old

prayed, "And forgive us
our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in
our baskets.“

Amen….


34


Benefits of bi
-

& multilingual education
: some doubt
this, but studies have been done that do show mental
advancement in those who speak more than one
language early on w/o
economic influences being a part


(p. 410)


Umpire signals in

baseball came from

the 1
st

deaf baseball

player in 1892.

It worked so well

it spread to

other sports…


Thinking w/o language
:


Mental practice

(411): athletes, musicians, students
show improvement using mental rehearsal…

Walk yourself mentally thru the steps involved…


…but
not
just

“seeing” themselves get an “A”…


35

36

Interesting quick video! How to
interpret
body language
...


Up to 80% of human communication is
thru NON
-
verbal communication!


http://www.howcast.com/videos/106
08
-
How
-
To
-
Interpret
-
Body
-
Language


37

Inspired
problem
-
solving:

How a Swiss
company
solved the
problem of

male
spillage
” in
apublic
urinals:
Increased
accuracy

by
85%!!

38

Clever

even if totally wrong & given no points...


39

Animal Thinking & Language

(communication)


Bees tell other
bees where to
find nectar
sources using a
dance…


The straight
-
line
part of the dance
points in the
direction of a
nectar source,
relative to the
sun

Direction of

nectar source

40

Animal Thinking & Language

Gestured Communication
: Our lang. probably

came from gestures, which apes still use.

Body lang. & other non
-
verbal messages are a

large part of communication (60
-
80%?!)



41

Animal Thinking & Language


Is this
really

language?


Animals
can

use
language &
even a
bit

of syntax…


But NOT to
the extent
humans
can

42

H
-
O 10,2: Rational
-
Experiential Inventory (REI):

Are you analytical/rational or intuitive/experiential?


Reverse #’s for 1, 2, & 5 (1=5, 2=4, 3=3, 4=2, 5=1)
then add all (keep actual score for 3 & 4)

Rational Scale
: Higher scores=more rational (5


25)


Experiential scale:

Add actual #’s for 6
-
10


(5


25, higher = more intuitive/experiential)

43

Forward I am heavy, but backward I am not.
What am I?

He has married many women, but has never been
married. Who is he?

How are a jeweler and a jailer alike?

How many bricks does it take to complete a
building made of brick?

How many of each animal did Moses take on the
ark?

How many times can you subtract the

number 5 from 25?

Once. After the first calculation, you will

be subtracting 5 from 20, then 5 from

15, and so on.

How much dirt is in a hole 4 feet deep

and 2 feet wide?

There is no dirt in a hole.

I am used to bat with, yet I never get a

hit. I am near a ball, yet it is never

thrown. What am I?

Eyelashes.

A farmer had seventeen sheep, all but

nine died, how many did he have left?

Nine.

A father's child, a mother's child, yet no

one's son.

A girl or daughter.

A man builds a house with all 4 sides

facing south. A bear walks past the

house. What color is the bear?

White: the house is built directly on the

North Pole.

A man drove all the way from New York

to San Francisco only to discover at the

end of the trip that he had a flat tire from

the very start. Yet his car was completely

unaffected by it?

How is this possible?

Even if they are starving, natives living

in the Arctic will never eat a

penguin's egg. Why not?

Penguins are native to Antarctica.

I have a head like a cat. I have feet like

at cat. But I am not a cat. What am I?

A kitten.

I know a word of letters three,

Add two and fewer there will be.

Few.

If a rooster laid a brown egg and a white

egg, what kind of chicks would hatch?

None. Roosters don't lay eggs!

If an egg came floating down the Green

River, where did it come from?

A chicken.

If there are fifteen crows on a fence and

the farmer shoots a third of them, how

many crows are left?

None. The rest of the crows flew away


44


1.
A woman had two sons who were born on the
same hour of the same day of the same year. But
they were not twins. How could this be so?

2.
Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was
the highest mountain on Earth?

3.
Before the days of motor cars, a man rode into
town on his horse. He arrived on Friday, spent
three days in town and left on Friday. How is that
possible?

4.
Big as a biscuit, deep as a cup, even a river can't
fill it up. What is it?

5.
Can a man legally marry his widow's sister in the
state of California?

6.
(Answers next slide, 2
nd

column)

45

1.
A ton

2.
A priest.

3.
The jeweler sells watches and the
jailer watches cells

4.
Only one
-

the "last" one.

5.
Hint: Who?

6.
Once. After the first calculation, you
will be subtracting 5 from 20, then 5
from 15, and so on.

7.
There is no dirt in a hole.

8.
Eyelashes.

9.
Nine.

10.
A girl or daughter.

11.
It was his spare tire.

12.
White, b/c at North Pole.

13.
Penguins are native to Antarctica.

14.
Few.

15.
None. Roosters don't lay eggs!

16.
A chicken

17.
None. The rest of the crows flew
away when they heard the gunshot.

18.
Nine.

1.
They were two of a
set of triplets.

2.
Mount Everest.

3.
Hint: Can you guess
the horse's name?

4.
A kitchen strainer.

5.
No, because he's
dead.




46


47


Confirmation Bias:
tendency to search for
information that confirms one’s
preconceptions